All Japan Kendo Championship INTERVIEW

2023 Spring Interview with Hoshiko Keita



Photography: Sasai Takamatsu
Translation: Pepijn Boomgaard

Hoshiko Keita

Born in 1998 in Kagoshima prefecture. Went to Kyushu Gakuen High School and the University of Tsukuba. Entered the Metropolitan Police Department in February 2022. His achievements include winning and placing 3rd at the All Japan Championship, winning with Team Japan at the World Championships, winning the All Japan Police Championship individual and team titles. Kendo 4th Dan.

That loss taught him about the importance of going out there to win

2022 was Hoshiko’s first year in the workforce. It might have been a turbulent year for him, as many things happened.

“As I started working, my environment changed, and I competed while attending the police academy. It was difficult for me to get used to the environment, but because of everyone’s support, I was able to balance Kendo and school and have a fulfilling year.” 

Although he could devote less time to Kendo than the year before, he was able to change his way of thinking and  become more flexible. “Because of this, I was able to concentrate on each practice session more. I also had more time to think about Kendo. Looking back at it now, I think it was a positive thing for me.”

He attended various tournaments while coping with his new environment. He helped his team win the All Japan Police Tournament and he won the individual All Japan Police Championship title, both without losing a single match. It was nothing other than impressive. However, rather than these brilliant victories, it was his loss at the All Japan Championship he was expected to win that left a deep impression.

“Of course, the police tournament was a major goal of mine, and winning it was a great honor, but it does not take away from the fact that I lost in the first round at the All Japan Championship. It was a frustrating year for me.” 

Hoshiko has been competing at the national level since elementary school. The only time he lost in the first round was when he was a junior high school student, and that was a decision loss. 

“I think it was the first time I lost in the first round by getting an Ippon scored on me. However, it was not the fact that I lost in the first round which was disappointing. It was not being able to show the fruits of the work I had put in so far that was my biggest regret.”

He recalls that even though his goal was to win the All Japan Championship, he got too focussed on making it look good or beautiful. As a result, he was not able to show his true abilities. 

“That is my biggest regret. I believe that I did what was necessary in the lead-up to the match. To be honest, looking back now, I don’t think there was much more I could have done beforehand. Maybe I’ll find out as time goes on.”

Is it that difficult to win consecutive titles? “I don’t want to simply say it happened because it is hard to win  consecutively. If that were true, it would be impossible to win consecutive titles.” 

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